It’s rare you’ll ever see such a stark misalignment of a brand’s health-focused messaging, and the harsh reality of contrary medical studies. Diet Coke supports The Heart Truth, a public campaign to raise awareness of how heart disease affects women. Naturally, skeptics rolled their eyes at the idea of a soft drink maker promoting better heart health, and the fact that the diet drink’s can even has a heart logo on it.
Putting aside interest group differences with Diet Coke, the more tough pill to swallow is a new study showing that diet soda consumption may be linked to, gulp, a higher risk of heart disease. So what does this all mean, in terms of brand equity and CSR efforts?
Hard to say at this point. What matters at this moment is how Diet Coke plans its short and long-term response. Clearly, Coca-Cola is no slouch when it comes to highly resourceful marketing. In fact, check out the company’s website, where they openly disclose their marketing budget. (Although the most recent figures are from 2006, we’ll assume just about any company would love to have $2.6 billion for advertisements.)
Normally one might turn to the company’s Facebook page to see what response it might have to this turn of events, but good luck finding any worthwhile commentary there. How much longer can Coca-Cola stay silent when facing such circumstances?